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Screaming Mimi (1958)

Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson sees a man get shot moments after he tries to knife her in a shower, so she goes to Dr. Greenwood a psychiatrist for therapy. He falls in love with her and ... See full summary »


Gerd Oswald


Robert Blees (screenplay by), Fredric Brown (novel)




Cast overview:
Anita Ekberg ... Virginia Wilson / Yolanda Lange
Philip Carey ... Bill Sweeney
Gypsy Rose Lee ... Joann 'Gypsy' Masters
Harry Townes ... Dr. Greenwood / Bill Green
Linda Cherney Linda Cherney ... Ketti
Romney Brent ... Charlie Weston
Red Norvo ... Red Yost
Red Norvo Trio Red Norvo Trio ... Red Norvo Trio
Alan Gifford ... Capt. Bline
Oliver McGowan Oliver McGowan ... Walter Krieg
Stephen Ellsworth Stephen Ellsworth ... Dr. Joseph Robinson
Vaughn Taylor ... Raoul Reynarde
Frank J. Scannell Frank J. Scannell ... Paul, the Bartender


Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson sees a man get shot moments after he tries to knife her in a shower, so she goes to Dr. Greenwood a psychiatrist for therapy. He falls in love with her and takes over her life, although she insists on continuing her career at the El Madhouse nightclub. The club's tough owner is none other than Gypsy Rose Lee who plays 'Gypsy' and sings an incredibly bad song ("Put the Blame on Mame") when Virginia is late one night. The traumatized Virginia is suspected of a series of murders. Each victim had purchased a contorted sculpture of a woman called the Screaming Mimi, which was created by her step-brother Charlie who was also responsible for shooting her attacker. It's up to a handsome columnist Bill Sweeny to figure it all out. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The strip-tease murder case! See more »


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Did You Know?


The Red Norvo Trio (the musicians in Joann's club) is really a quartet. See more »


Bill Sweeney: How tall are you, Yolanda?
Virginia Wilson aka Yolanda Lange: With heels or without?
Bill Sweeney: With anyone. Me, for instance.
See more »


Featured in Becoming Anita Ekberg (2014) See more »


Put the Blame on Mame
Written by Doris Fisher and Allan Roberts
Sung by Gypsy Rose Lee
See more »

User Reviews

A Towne Tour-de-Force
9 June 2008 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

How did I miss this drive-in special back in 1958 when I hit those passion pits weekly. Yeah, it's lurid to the max, but it's also got some kinky touches carefully hidden during the Age of Ike when sex was summed up by Debbie and Eddie. Note the not-so-subtle innuendo that Lee's character has more interest in the cigarette girl than in handsome stud Carey. And what is that s&m chain doing on Ekberg's wrists as she writhes around during her so-called stage act, which we get to see not once but twice as though we may not have believed it the first time around. Then too, what's with Towne's kinky doctor who can't seem to decide just which of Ekberg's startling features he's most interested in. And finally, how did this bit of bizzaro escape the confines of a respectable studio, Columbia, and the co-producing team of Brown and Fellows. Say what you will, despite the sleaze, this low-budget piece of 50's movie-making has more inherent interest than 90% of its bigger contemporaries.

I expect cult director Gerd Oswald is responsible for taking up the challenge and turning what could have been a routine crime drama into a genuine curiosity piece. Just watch his direction of the movie's centerpiece, and I don't mean Ekberg's Amazonian proportions-- in fact, her best scenes are those standing around looking comatose. No, this is familiar character actor Harry Towne's masterpiece. He was always good at slightly off-center characters, but here he out-does himself, delivering a masterfully kinky performance that really defies description. I've seen nothing quite like it in years of movie watching. Just what is going on inside those many tormented expressions. Watch the scene where he stands outside the colloquy between Carey and Ekberg when she must decide where her allegiance lies. Note the subtle array of emotions that react to what is being said. He could have just stood there and picked up his paycheck, but he didn't. Instead he created one of the more interesting obsessions to appear on the big screen in some time. I hope there's a special place in Hollywood heaven for unsung actors like Towne who deliver so much and get back so little. Anyhow the movie remains an interesting piece of esoterica, even if the title likely drove away more people than it brought in.

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Release Date:

8 August 1958 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Screaming Mimi See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sage Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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